Japanese Pubs Fight Over Name Rights

The copycat pub thought a dot on the signage would be different enough

An independent izakaya thought slipping a dot into its name would be enough to keep a big chain's laywers away. 

Copyright and trademark laws can seem impossibly difficult to non-lawyers, but one restaurateur mistakenly thought a dot would be enough to differentiate his restaurant from the big chain nearby, and now he’s in a spot of trouble about it.

According to Rocket News 24, the owner of a small, independent izakaya in Hiroshima, Japan, thought “Wara・Wara” would be a successful name for his restaurant. It was a logical assumption, as there is already a popular izakaya chain in Japan operating under the name “WaraWara.” In fact, there was an outpost of the WaraWara chain just 600 meters from Wara・Wara.

Both restaurants have signs out front with the character “wara” or “laugh” written twice, but the newcomer just put a little black dot between the characters. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was visited by some lawyers last week who told him his restaurant would be needing a new name soon.

“We thought that if we added a dot between the two characters it would be OK,” the proprietor of Wara・Wara explained.

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